When the State Steals Your Work – Podcast with Rick Allen

In March 2020, the Supreme Court delivered its opinion in the case Allen v. Cooper. The outcome was not surprising because the Court affirmed precedent ruling from the late 1990s which held that the 11th Amendment bars suing a state or state actors for damages stemming from intellectual property infringement.

Thus far, I’ve explored the murky waters of state sovereign immunity as it relates to Allen v. Cooper and other cases, including author Michael Bynum and photographer Jim Olive’s lawsuits filed in the State of Texas. So far, my focus in this area has been academic. But on February 8th, Rick Allen filed an amended complaint in North Carolina, and after I read that narrative, I wanted to invite Rick back to the podcast to talk more personally about his story, what it means to him, and what it should mean to anyone who hears it.

Show Contents

  • 1:15 Becoming an Underwater Cameraman
  • 11:06 Queen Anne’s Revenge Opportunity of Lifetime
  • 15:06 Wreck Diving and Filming
  • 27:19 Personal Investment
  • 37:20 Rare Cooperation Between Treasure Hunters and Archeologists
  • 43:00 A Near-Fatal Accident
  • 48:00 State Infringements
  • 59:00 Blackbeard’s Law
  • 1:05:00 Suing the State of North Carolina
  • 1:16:00 Implications for All Creators
  • 1:29:00 Overlap with Censorship

Photo of Rick Allen by Cindy Burnham.

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